WTCC World Touring Car Championship 2013
The Honda Civic WTCC of Norbert Michelisz took victory in Race 1 of the WTCC event in Suzuka with a commanding show of speed and control. The number 5 Zengő Motorsport Civic made a superb start leading into the first corner never to be headed in the 26 lap race. Norbi drove away from the rest of the field to win the race by 4.8seconds. In Race 2 Tiago Monteiro claimed third position just ahead of Gabriele Tarquini in the second Castrol Honda.
Michelisz was on pole position for the rolling start of race 1 and took charge of the race from the first corner. The young Hungarian showed his racing maturity to precisely gain fractions of seconds on each lap to increase the gap to his rivals throughout the 26 lap race.
At the end of the frenetic 26 laps Michelisz was as ever cool and collected: “It was a dream race for me. I had new front tires saved from yesterday and that allowed me to get maximum grip. From the start I was able to get into the first corner ahead and I knew it was just down to me. I was able to drive without pushing or taking risks and to drive smoothly. I would really like to thank everyone for the help for my win, thanks to Honda, to JAS and my Zengő Motorsport team.”
Tiago Monteiro made an excellent start from the third row of the grid to be third into the first corner but was squeezed wide at turn 2 and lost places to run 8th for much of the race. In trying to pass Oriola on lap 18 the Castrol Civic was forced into the tire barrier and front end damage cut short his challenge. Gabriele Tarquini also made a strong start and jumped into 5th place and fought hard to hold it but a tire failure on lap 18 sent him to the pits and down the results. Takuya Izawa drove a controlled race to bring his Honda Civic home in 12th position.The reverse grid for Race 2 presented an opportunity for Tarquini and Monteiro to challenge for the lead, the Italian on row 2 and Tiago on row 3 again. Michelisz was sandwiched between Muller and Chilton at the start and suffered a puncture and suspension damage forcing retirement. The two Castrol Civics circulated together in 3rd and 4th places with Monteiro moving into third position on lap 12, giving the Portuguese driver a podium reward for his speed and attack during the Suzuka weekend.
Tiago Monteiro was satisfied with his podium for Race 2 but had hoped for more. “I really thought I had a good chance in Race 1 and had waited for the passing chance. I was in the correct position but the gap was closed on me and I hit the tires. I chased hard in Race 2 and third on the podium is a good result.”
Tarquini could see positives from his two races: “I made a good start in Race 1 with lots of fights for positions and then it settled down and I was confident of 5th but then the puncture put me in the pits. For Race 2 I decided to take a lower pace as we were not certain what had caused the puncture. I let Tiago into third and finished 4th.” Tarquini is second in the Drivers World Championship points table.
For Takuya Izawa this was his first race experience of WTCC action. “I would like to thank Honda and its engineers for enabling me to join the World Championship for the first time. Although I believed that I had a good chance it didn’t happen today so I am a little disappointed. But this wonderful chance gave me further confidence for my career. It was very useful to be working with an international team. WTCC is bruising like a fighting sport but I could understand and enjoy the battle.”
Daisuke Horiuchi, Large Project leader from Honda R & D was delighted with the results. “Making pole position and leading from start to finish is the very best demonstration that we have achieved big steps in the development of this engine. I am so happy for all the people at Honda R & D who have worked so hard on this project.”“This is a great weekend for Honda,” says Alessandro Mariani, JAS Motorsport Managing Director. “It is a new demonstration of the level achieved by the Civic in just one year, the package is now very competitive and the cars proved to be very strong at Suzuka. Despite the race incidents we saw Tiago and Gabriele fighting right at the front of the field and of course to see Norbi’s victory was just great. He and Zengő Motorsport have done a great job.”
|1||Norbert MICHELISZ (Honda Civic WTCC)|
|2||Alex MACDOWALL (Chevrolet Cruze)|
|3||Yvan MULLER (Chevrolet Cruze)|
|4||Tom CHILTON (Chevrolet Cruze)|
|5||James NASH (Chevrolet Cruze)|
|6||James THOMPSON (Lada Granta)|
|12||Takuya IZAWA (Honda Civic WTCC)|
|27||Gabriele TARQUINI (Honda Civic WTCC)|
|28||Tiago MONTEIRO (Honda Civic WTCC)|
|1||Tom CORONEL (BMW 320 TC)|
|2||Mehdi BENNANI (BMW 320 TC)|
|3||Tiago MONTEIRO (Honda Civic WTCC)|
|4||Gabriele TARQUINI (Honda Civic WTCC)|
|5||James NASH (Chevrolet Cruze)|
|6||Tom CHILTON (Chevrolet Cruze)|
|22||Takuya IZAWA (Honda Civic WTCC)|
|RT||Norbert MICHELISZ (Honda Civic WTCC)|